Dan Millman has inspired me through the words of his books, especially, “The Way of the Peaceful Warrior.”
I reached out to him, had him on my podcast, and have become close friends with him trading motivational messages, thoughts and ideas.
My brother has a concert in Brooklyn tonight, where Dan happens to live.
I reached out to Dan last week about getting tea and taking a walk (I guessed from his books that's what he likes to do) and of course, he was open to connecting.
What an interesting activity, meeting someone you admire. What questions do I ask? What is he going to be like?
Dan inspires me because of the hard work he has done on himself. Dan made it a point to do the hard work, internal work, from the time he was in college, to the day I met him. He works on his awareness, his discipline, and his ability to change the world.
This work has paid off.
Clearly he is calm inside. His eyes do not wonder. He is in no rush to get his point across. He is aware. He can feel people’s energy. And he is empathetic.
We met in his lobby and went to get tea. I got juice.
We stepped outside and took 28 paces from the coffee shop where we came across a homeless woman who which he said, “You should warm up, here is a nice warm matcha tea!”
This was 30 seconds after he mentioned how much he was looking forward to the tea.
He never felt the need to go back and tea, the tea had no power over him.
His desire for tea was pure energy. Flowing just as a fun sensory experience. But it was not a need. He made nothing of it. Just a transfer of energy. An exchange in which I presume he got more out of than the women in fact.
As we walked, I noticed his mind was focused on serving. Serving me on this walk.
He ensured he showed me things he thought I would like to see. We didn’t walk where he likes, we walked where he thought I would like. We saw the beautiful public library in Brooklyn, the farmers market and the park, and off the beaten path streets of Brooklyn.
After 3 decently fast miles, and clear conscious thinking, I was shocked when he mentioned he was 76 years of age. I know he was at least 60 or so but I was shocked at this based on how spry he was.
Caring for yourself does pay off.
The reason he even mentioned it was because he had vertigo on Tuesday so badly he was throwing up. He got it from doing handstands and said it was because of his age (ha!).
Another thing I noticed about Dan that I admire (and feel I can relate with) is his positive attitude. Specifically how we can create the world he is looking to.
On Tuesday, he texted me and said he had vertigo and if it was not cleared up he would have to cancel on me. This was simply him being thoughtful in case he wasn’t feeling well he wanted to let me know. But I know it was just him being thoughtful because before I could answer, he texted, “Sean, vertigo is a condition, not an illness. I will do a treatment and be fine by Saturday. I just wanted to let you know.”
And sure enough, he was 100% ready to go on Saturday.
After even more reflection, I do think some of his confidence is fleeting. Otherwise he likely wouldn’t have even mentioned it. I presume that comes with age.
But his true colors came out and he healed himself.
Towards the end of our walk, I felt a calling to understand what he is working on now. So I asked!
He said, “I am a retired writer.”
He said this calmly, happily, and with confidence. There was so stutter, no looking over his shoulder, and a whole lot of conviction.
I enquired about that specifically, the distinct conviction he had and confidence he portrayed with a statement I imagine would be hard. I mean look how hard it was for Tom Brady and Brett Favre.
Dan responded with a metaphor, “An old martial arts coach once said, I train people that NEED to learn martial arts, not people who WANT to learn martial arts.”
And the topic was closed.
As we finished our walk, we stood and spoke for a moment. He wanted to tell me I was a creative person. He saw that in me. I am here to be creative, be different, and lead by example.
But, this causes self-doubt to creep up and is going to require me to get over being scared to fail, be wrong, or look silly.
And he mentioned this out of love, as he saw this could be a potential risk for me. Something for me to be aware of and work on.
I think he was dialed in.
Who cares if those comments are “general” and could apply to a lot of people.
They were thoughtful, I resonated with them, and they meant a lot to me.
Even just today I was playing drums with my brother (which I do not do) and I was getting self conscious because I wasn’t good.
You won't get better without trying.
Jeffrey was just so happy we got to jam – he definitely didn’t care.
But yet, judgment came in.
When I told Dan I was going to write this blog he told me a great quote from Ernest Hemingway which summarizes to “be willing to be a bad writer.”
I interpreted that as, “It is important to open up space in your life for creativity, without judgment. Let the energy flow and dissect it later. But when you are creating, create.”
See you soon.